The day that Toji goes to the Gojo Household to see the one, Gojo Satoru. But the experience wasn’t quite like what he imagined it would be.
"Hey you, old man."
Toji stopped. Sandaled feet halting beneath the lowly hanging branches of the enormous maple tree, it's orange leaves twirling and swirling in the autumn wind. He looked up, brow pinched with a single thought at the forefront of his mind, 'Old man?'
Lifting his gaze he surveyed the trees, eyes lazily roving over the beams and limbs of the trees searching for the owner of the haughty voice.
Any other day he would have ignored it. Kept pace with whatever destination was in mind; to the dark confines of his futon in his damp and drafty room, to the cheap bottle of rice liquor he snagged from the servant's quarters when no one was looking. Anywhere he couldn't hear the voices or feel the eyes cast on him like hot coals digging into his back.
Any other day he would have kept walking. But today, things were a little different.
The old bastards decided to take a trip to the Gojo clan's for diplomatic reasons, whatever the fuck that meant. The two families had been at each other's throats for centuries; displaying a petty showmanship of a civil front. But Toji knew better, fuck it the entire jujutsu world knew better. Underhanded dealings, underworld associations, assassinations-- all in the hopes to rid one of each other. That was the nature of the tepid alliance formed between the two monoliths.
But none of that mattered to Toji. No, jujutsu society could collapse overnight for all he cared and he'd still sleep soundly through it all. What piqued his curiosity was the Gojo family's heir, Gojo Satoru. Whispers of his techniques and gifts would leak through shoji screens as he passed along the veranda, the words following and sticking to his footsteps. And when the frequency and abundance of the rumors and talks intensified, Toji decided he'd get a look at the brat himself.
Having arrived at the household, it was no surprise that he was told to wait outside of the joint-meeting room, having been barred entrance by his older cousins and uncle. And so he waited, and waited, listening to the droning meeting of the geezers, their forked tongues clashing with one another before delving into long stretches of silence.
Growing bored of the standoff, Toji decided to wander the Gojo premises to kill some time. They could’ve been at it for the next hour or so by the looks of it.
But now… he nearly scoffed, the irony of their meeting being here of all places. Not in a fancy meeting room, where the two families were at odds. Where the stark difference of their positions and values within their respective families so palpable you could take a handful of it from the air.
No, fate didn't work that way.
Here he was, legs dangling from the largest, girthiest limb, looking down at him with a dignified tilt of his head, this was no doubt the prized Gojo brat.
And Toji was suddenly made aware of his own appearance. Hands hanging loosely in the opening front of his yukata, the cheap material which scratched at his arms and sides. It was an old thing, possibly a hand-me-down from one of his older cousins. An after thought of clothing pieced together at the last moment. Fitting the entrails in a formal suit and parading it out in public, wouldn't be above the Zen'in way after all. People at least had the decency to clean entrails.
His eyes roved over the brat's form; a clean set of robes fit for a prince. The silks and textiles of the clothing, a range of powder blues dusted about the background of white like that of freshly fallen snow, the trimmings of the sleeves, a glistening silver that practically gleamed in the orange hues of the setting sun.
And those piercing blue pits, digging into his soul. ‘Creepy brat.’
With one last lingering look, Toji turned on his heel and walked back in the direction he came.
Toji kept walking, each stride taken growing longer by the minute. He'd never openly admit it, but those eyes left a chilling feel in his spine, like those pupils reached in, probing and prodding at the inner machinations of his being.
There was a loud thud behind him and the crunching of leaves beneath a small set of steps, closing in behind him.
The voice grew louder, the quick patter of footsteps clopped and crunched after him.
Toji's pace grew quicker, strides growing longer and longer until he broke into a brisk walk, the hands in the front of his kimono slipped out at some point as an irritated frown broke across his face.
"Stop right there!"
Toji kept going, his hands at his side moving at a quick pace as the footsteps behind him broke into a jog. Almost out of here.'
The Gojo brat's footsteps broke off suddenly, and the boy's presence all but disappeared behind him.
Before he was able to whip his head around, the blue eyed youth appeared before him in a spurt. Body fluttering into existence within a flurry white and blues. He blinked up at him, his small mouth twisted in annoyance, "I said stop."
Toji raised an eyebrow, having taken a few cautionary steps back before finally speaking, "What do you want?" ‘Of course he can teleport.’
The Gojo brat tilted his head, those uncanny eyes staring unblinkingly at Toji. His skin prickled, that probing feeling was back, "Who are you?"
"What's it to you?"
"You were by my tree, in my yard within my premises, I have every right to ask you." He responded primly, not stumbling over a single word. This brat couldn't be older than eight at most. 'Creepy.'
He turned his head to the side and shoved his hands into the fronts of his yukata, feeling somewhat obliged to answer. The kid wasn't wrong after all, "Here on family business."
The brat snorted, crossing his arms, and shot him a sardonic look, "You're with the Zen'in?"
Toji’s gaze ambled to the trees to the right of them in lazy interest, "What of it?"
"I knew the Zen'in were weak but I didn't think it was this bad."
Toji almost snorted at the comment. What he wouldn't pay to watch this brat say that directly to his shitty uncle's face. But there was an implication there that he couldn't shake from the back of his head, "What're you talking about?"
"What's with your aura?
Toji flinched, a bristle of nerves ran up his arms in a wave of pin-pricks. Sharp, biting, "The hell you talking about?"
The brat blinked at him, eyes staring deeply at a particular point within his chest, and jutted his chin towards it, "There, people usually have a presence at their core, there's this swirling thing bundled at the center and moves and fluctuates depending on what the person's doing. But you..." He lowered his eyes towards his stomach, then moved his gaze towards his extremities, Toji felt like a mounted moth, his limbs pinned by this boy's stare, "There's nothing there, no flow, no movement. Nothing. Like you don't exist."
There was a snapping tension within Toji's jaw, he clenched his teeth so tight the muscles in his cheeks were screaming. Everything within him told him to leave, to turn his back on this little brat and wash his hands of him and this whole fucking world, that decides the worth of a person based on their inherent traits and inborn talents.
Some were just born lucky it seems.
Suddenly he tension bled from his body, his fists unfurled and the muscles in his jaw and shoulders relaxed.
"Yeah, you're right, there's nothing here," Toji looked up at the brat, a pitiful smile curved up on the side of his face, "And I bet you feel like you hit the jackpot when looking at me."
He was so tired.
He lifted his gaze to the tree they walked from, the leaves still whirling in the light breeze, the oranges and reds of the dying sun bled the sky and created a scenic backdrop for the Gojo clan's prince, staring at him with his unflinchingly cool gaze.
The boy blinked slowly, then brought his gaze to look at his own shadow that stretched between the two of them, the dark head nearly touching at Toji's feet.
"Not really." His mouth moved then, a small voice, strained and so different from the haughty tempo he used when following him, “At least you can live how you want.”
A stretch of silence lay between them, not even the trees, wind or leaves made a sound, as though everything around these two were suspended in time.
Toji stared down at the boy to whom mountains bow to, and felt himself sinking. Something sat in his chest, growing heavier and heavier until he couldn't even bear the weight of his own arms.
He brought eyes towards the Gojo heir’s face; a solemn breeze blew through his white hair and rustled his clothes and Toji was almost sure he was sparkling.
With one last glance, he turned and walked. Off the premises of the garden, and away from the child of legends. There were no small footsteps following him by the time he reached the Gojo clan’s boundary, the sun having submerged it’s head under the blanket of darkness.
Pocketing his hands, Toji walked straight into the bowels of the night, back towards his rusted cage.